I started out wanting to make some laser cut coasters for my Dad's birthday and the project has slowly grown to become a series of lasercut marquetry tablemats. As a first introduction to laser cutting it's been a really fun process.
I used a vector design that I had used for something previously, but the coasters at 2 layers of 4mm ply looked a bit clunky and the design was definitely too fussy for a small item.
A makernow user commented how they reminded her of Studio Job's marquetry which got me thinking how I could develop the idea.
I settled on tablemats and created the inlay effect by cutting two identical mats, but flipping the plywood over inbetween, so that I used the two different veneers of the ply. I then swapped some of the pieces over to create a contrast between the veneers (only some becasue issues with the laser cutter mean not all of them had cut out totally)
After assembling the pieces so that I had two complete mats I covered the back with woodglue and stuck to a cork sheet to give a non scratch, non slip backing. I then sanded them to a smooth finish, applied one coat of osmo wood protector and two coats of osmo clear wood oil. I chose osmo because it's foodsafe once dry and the wood protector makes it effectively waterproof and seems to have even filled in the kerf well enough that crumbs don't get stuck in the gaps.
Overall I'm really pleased with the mats and am looking forward to experimenting with more things like changing the angle of the grain and adding etched detail.
One problem is I am limited by the veneers of ply that I can find, which is rather potluck - and the shape results in a lot of waste - will try rectangles next.
Due to catastrophic harddrive failure I have lost my file so I'm afraid I can't add it to instructables as I had planned, but hope this inspires you to use the lasercutter!